Palm Strike – Two Mistakes to Avoid

Two minor but common mistakes students tend to make while performing the Palm Strike is an incorrect hand position and telegraphing the strike. This video addresses both mistakes and how to fix them.


“This is Randall with KravMagaTraining.com and in this video I’m going to discuss two little mistakes that are pretty common when it comes to delivering the palm heel strike and I just want to make sure that you guys are aware of it so you can avoid it.

For the most part, the palm heel strike is pretty easy to learn. I don’t really have a lots of problems showing it to my students and have them be able to perform it properly. As long as they already have good body mechanics and good technique for their straight punches, because the palm strike is just an extension of that. You’re just using a different part of your hand as a striking surface. So instead of hitting with your knuckles you’re hitting with a softer part of your hand in case you’re hitting a harder part of their body. Like you are hitting someone on the back of the head. You don’t want to hit them with your knuckles where you could potentially injure yourself. Or maybe you’ve already hurt your hands in the fight and you have to switch to palm strikes in order to keep fighting.

Anyways, two minor mistakes I see that are really common is one is little details to the hand positioning. And two is making sure you are not telegraphing your palm strike. And I’ll discuss that later.

Let me discuss the proper hand positioning for the palm strike. Okay, regardless of whether you use this version or this version. I personally teach both in my classes because I feel they are both useful. I don’t really care about the angle. What I do care about is the hand positioning itself. And that most people have a bad habit of leaving their thumb sticking out like this. I don’t like this for two reasons. One is if you miss and you catch your thumb on something there’s a good possibility you’re going to injure it. So I prefer to take the knuckle on the thumb and bend that and then tuck the thumb in next to the hand. This will do two things. One is, obviously, your thumb is not sticking out now so it’s less likely to get jammed. Two, when you tuck your thumb in, and more importantly, bend that knuckle on the thumb, you’ll feel your whole hand tighten up and it will become a lot stronger. So this is like the equivalent of making a tight fist but with an open hand. It’s like a good karate chop position. And you just take that karate chop position and just bend the wrist back and it will feel real stable.

Another little detail on the palm strike. I know some styles like to teach with the fingers bent like this. The theory being that you can hit the bad guy in the eyes with your fingertips but I personally found it’s not a very high percentage technique. The eyes are a small target. Granted, we do have a separate eye strike for that. I mean, don’t get me wrong. I’m all about hitting the eyes too but I don’t think the palm strike is the best tool for that particular job. I prefer to keep the hands open. I found that if you curl your fingertips back, yeah, your hand feels strong, but there’s a good chance your fingertips, if you miss and you’re a little off, you’re going to bounce off the person’s forehead or their skull and you’re going to hurt your fingertips. To me, the palm strike is all about hitting hard with the heel of the palm here or the side right here. I’m not really worried about eye gouges when I’m using palm strikes. So I personally don’t think that’s a good option because there’s a good chance you are going to hurt your fingers if you do this.

So this is the correct hand position. Thumb bent. I like the fingers relatively straight and of course the wrist bent. So make sure that, that those little details are being applied when you’re delivering your palm strike.

The second thing is beginners tend to telegraph their palm strike. And this is what I mean is, they’re in their fighting stance. And the Krav Maga fighting stance your hands are supposed to be relaxed. Your relaxed position will kind of look like this. It’s not a fist but it’s not completely open. They are just kind of naturally cupped like this. But what beginners do is once they figure out the correct hand position with the palm strike is then they just tend to stay this way and get in their fighting stance and right before they hit the target they’re like this. Well, you’re kind of telegraphing what you’re going to do. The bad guy obviously knows ‘Oh, here comes the palm strike.’ So instead, what you want to do is keep your hands relaxed and then as you deliver the palm strike, on impact, ‘boom!’, that’s when your hand locks out in to that position that I just discussed with you. ‘Boom!’, that’s when it locks into place. Not only are you not telegraphing, but it keeps your body more relaxed. And when you’re body is more relaxed when it’s delivering strikes, you’ll tend to be faster. You only tighten your body right on impact. Whether it’s a palm strike, a punch, a kick, or anything else for that matter. You do that you won’t fatigue as early. You’ll be a lot quicker.

So I’ll demonstrate on the bag with what I’m referring to. This is what beginners do. They just keep that position the whole time. Instead, relax your hands. As it goes out that’s when it tightens up to that hand position. Relax, relax, tighten it up. So notice how my hands are loose, but as I deliver the strike, that’s when it tightens up. All right. So that’s the proper way to do it so you’re not telegraphing what you’re doing and you’ll work a lot more efficiently.

A good drill to force you to relax your hands is to mix up your palm strikes with your regular straight punches. So you start with your hands in this neutral position, this relaxed position, and then as you deliver those strikes, then you lock it out in to the appropriate position. So if I’m punching it locks out in to my fist as I’m striking. But if I’m doing a palm strike it locks out into my palm strike position as I’m doing it. So this is what I mean. When you’re practicing on your pads practice like that. Mix up your straight punches with your palm strikes. So that’s a good drill to keep your hands a little bit more relaxed or neutral.

So those are my two minor tips for delivering your palm strike a little bit better. Like I said earlier, I haven’t found the palm strike to be a major issue for most students. But these two little tips will just kind of help you perfect it and make it that much better for you. So I hope that helps. Thanks for watching.”

“Hit the soft parts of your attacker’s body with a hard part of your hand.
Hit the hard parts of your attacker’s body with a soft part of your hand.”